Our first class was with Deryl, who discussed structure as five parts: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution. He illustrated with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. As an exercise, he had us reach write an exposition in one sentence, pass it to the person on their right who then had to write the rising action in one sentence, and so on until we had a number of sheets, each written by five people. The results will be read (cringe) tomorrow.

Jeanne Clark and Rob Davidson

Jeanne and Rob in our classroom. This was not flash, hence the blur.

Rob had us read things we wrote out over the weekend. For home play we are to write an opening paragraph.

Jeanne read us “5th Grade Autobiography” by Rita Dove. She then handed out two poems: “Catching Songs,” by Robert Childers and “Elegy Ending in a Dream,” by Patrick Phillips. She had us tell her as many things as we could about the second poem and got almost a board full of responses. This was a “call and response” poem, with the first line of each couplet starting with “I thought” and the second line showing (usually rather obscurely) some difference in feeling now. The second lines are in present tense, the first in past tense. Our home play assignment is to take something or someone you have been unable to write about and write 5 or 6 couplets about it, using the call-response format with the first line of each couplet starting with “I thought.”

Sheila Sanderson

Sheila Sanderson in class. Again blurred because I was using available light in an underground classroom.

We had a guest for the afternoon session: Sheila Sanderson, editor of Alligator Juniper and author of Keeping Even, a collection of her poems. She read us a number of her poems: “Never and Always,” “The Stopping Place,” “High Desert Arizona,” “Barefoot along the North Atlantic,” “Rift Valley,” “Conspiracy in White,” “Keeping Even” (the title poem) and “Only One Place to be: Hell or Kentucky.”

She then gave us “Ode to the Maggot,” by Yusef Komunyakaa, and as an exercise had us write either an ode to the unlovely, or to think of something for which you have a particular fondness and note details as to why you are fond of it, and then use those details to write a piece “In disgust of_____.”

After that she gave us two poems allegedly written on odd things: “Written on the Stub of the First Paycheck,” by William Stafford, and “Poem Written on the Back of Bad Directions to Your House,” by Jason Fitschen. A third poem, “This is Just to Say,” by William Carlos Williams, was an example of an apology for something you weren’t really sorry for. As a second class exercise she had us write either a poem supposedly written on some strange thing or an insincere apology.

Tomorrow afternoon will be our individual conferences with the instructors, and the afternoon after that will be class participants’ readings (6 to 8 minutes each.)

9:27 pm: Don Gray just e-mailed me and asked me to include this link: http://www.speaklikeapro.co.uk/Anaphora.htm which refers to anaphora as a technique in rhetoric.